Thursday, January 11, 2007

Being Shaped by Her

Is it unmanly for a husband to want to be “shaped” by his wife? I don’t think so, and I’m not alone in the view. A husband-shaping dynamic is very much involved in the idealized wife-led marriage, coveted by those men who pursue this lifestyle. As a recent posting by a husband in the Wife-Led Relationships board explains:

“What I am doing by allowing myself to submit to her is allowing her to shape me into the man she wants me to be. And that man is not wimpy or weak when dealing with the world, but he is very loving and deferential when dealing with his beloved wife.”

As another wife-worshipping husband once wrote (in Lady Misato’s husbands’ forum): “I am proud to be in touch with others who know the true meaning of being a man is found serving and worshipping the woman he loves… [By doing that] you will toss the male ego burden aside. You will be free to grow in your service to her. To be a real man, her man.”

These guys make wife worship sound kind of like a spiritual path, don’t they? Not that they pray to their wives (though they may bend a knee to kiss her proffered hand or even her dainty toe), or actually worship her (in an idolatrous sense). But they do view each day as an opportunity to perfect their service and devotion to her, to make her the center of their life, the focus of their thoughts and feelings. And in this “centering” they profess to find daily bliss.

Amen to that!

Sunday, January 7, 2007

Near the Center of the Feminine Mystery

Shortly after posting the Stevenson quote (“The Enchanted Isle” below) I began to hear faint echoes in memory. A quick search of some old files turned up the following from an obviously enraptured husband to an old (and now defunct) Yahoo group (entitled something like “Happy Wives and Trained Husbands”):

"[My wife] has arrived home and my heart is fluttering with excitement! I hurry to do her bidding. I do not feel complete until she is home. I'm near the center of the feminine mystery, an intimate part of the life of a beautiful woman. So close to her, caring only for her comfort and happiness..."

I am reminded not only of Stevenson’s “enchanted isle among the storms of life,” but of how love transforms surroundings. I remember the special magic that pervaded the apartments and neighborhoods of certain females in my younger days, even the freeway offramps leading to these sacred precincts. It is the way Freddy Eynsford-Hill felt “on the street where you live,” as a lovesick sentry posted outside Prof. Higgins’ home, hoping for just a glimpse of Liza Dolittle.

Now, of course, her abode is mine and ours, and the covered playground of two kids. And yet, everything about it reminds me that it is she who created it, who is its head and heart, the leader who holds us all in her loving embrace. I give thanks each day that I live here with her, and them, in her “enchanted isle,” “near the center of the feminine mystery, an intimate part of the life of a beautiful woman.”

Friday, January 5, 2007

RLS and the Enchanted Isle

I begin with this delicious tribute to the woman-worshipping lifestyle from Robert Louis Stevenson, than whom no one crafted more elegant English:

"...Harry was transferred to the feminine department, where his life was little short of heavenly. He was always dressed with uncommon nicety, wore delicate flowers in his button-hole, and could entertain a visitor with tact and pleasantry. He took a pride in servility to a beautiful woman; received Lady Vandeleur's commands as so many marks of favour; and was pleased to exhibit himself before other men in his character of male lady's-maid and man milliner. Nor could he think enough of his existence from a moral point of view. Wickedness seemed to him an essentially male attribute, and to pass one's days with a delicate woman, and principally occupied about trimmings, was to inhabit an enchanted isle among the storms of life.”
(From New Arabian Nights, "Story of the Bandbox")

It is safe to say that the author shared some of Harry’s female-celebrating tendencies. Anyone who doubts need only consult any RLS biography and turn to the chapters dealing with his courtship of, and by, Fannie Osborne.